Happy Street: A colorful city-builder that lives up to its name
At first glance, Happy Street on iOS appears to be another clone in the long line of games that attempt to cash in on Tiny Tower's success, but this horizontal "side-scrolling" city builder is far more than that, with lots of mini-games, resource management and more making this complex street a very happy place indeed.
At its core, Happy Street revolves around the completion of quests given to you by cheerful forest creatures (rabbits, cats, chipmunks and so on), as you both build and supply goods to businesses and construct homes in which these critters can live. As your town is built horizontally, rather than vertically, you'll need to expand your land quite often using the game's premium currency, which is thankfully given out for free quite often.
Supplying businesses earns points towards upgrading them, changing their appearance and stats, and the same goes for homes. The more citizens you have living in your village, the more you'll be able to upgrade each individual home, making them taller and more intricate in appearance. This is a lucky thing too, as this initial version of Happy Street (disappointingly) only has a handful of home types to choose from, so the ability to manually upgrade homes (or not) allows for more visual variety with the duplicate homes you'll end up constructing.
Outside of these elements, you can also play a few mini-games, like a spin wheel or slot machines. In addition, birthday cakes will randomly appear above a critter's head, giving you a chance to "give them a gift" in one of several seemingly randomized categories like shirts, glasses, hair styles or hats, as examples. If you don't like the item that you give them, you can revert the critter to its original appearance, which is appreciated.
While building structures does require increasingly large amounts of coins, you'll also need to manage a variety of resources as you progress, namely wood. Wood is required for all manner of tasks, from just building or upgrading structures to crafting wood planks which are then used elsewhere. As your main city street serves as the home world, you can often jump into side quest areas to complete specific tasks, and in the case of wood collection, you can freely travel to and from the forest to chop down trees, as they regrow more quickly there than on your own street. This particular example is the first you'll encounter in the world of resource management, but as the game does have an in-depth crafting system, you'll end up collecting all sorts of other items to create new goodies: mushrooms, flowers, buckets or water and so on.
On top of all of this, the game allows you to visit your friends' cities via a global view of where other players (including strangers) are located. You can complete three neighbor tasks when visiting these friends, but even more than that, it's simply interesting to see the layouts others have chosen for their growing cities.
If there are problems with Happy Street, they come in the limited selection of items (specifically decorations) that are currently available to purchase in the store (compounded by the fact that the majority are level-locked), and the sheer amount of wood you'll need to make real progress. While wood is easy to come by (as we said before, the forest will regrow wood indefinitely), you'll really need to micromanage the game, continually coming back during the day to gather this wood to earn enough to build some of the larger, more impressive structures in a timely manner.
All of that being said, Happy Street is an incredibly cute city-builder, with adorable character models and critters that sound like characters from Nintendo's Animal Crossing when they talk. With the ability to customize the appearance of many town structures and even the road on which they're built, no two cities in Happy Street will look the same, but the fun factor is definitely standard. Make sure to give Happy Street a try.
Click here to download Happy Street on iTunes --->
What do you think of Happy Street? Have you tried the game for yourself? Sound off in the comments!